Foersteria purpurea (Foerster, 1923)
Phylum Cnidaria / Class Hydrozoa / Order Leptomedusae / Family Mitrocomidae

You probably won’t encounter this relative of the cross jelly (Mitrocoma) very often. Although similar in appearance, it’s easily distinguished by the dark purple color of the frilly mouth lips and stomach. The bell, diameter up to 3 to 4 cm, is transparent, with 4 white (sometimes purple) radial canals. From each is attached a folded, veil-like gonad. The bell margin is lined with up to 150 thin tentacles. Foersteria tends to inhabit waters deeper than 200 meters from British Columbia to central California. Occasionally you may see it near the surface within this range. Submersible observations show that the typical behavior is to remain motionless or pulse slowly near the bottom. The individual in the second photo is infested with the narcomedusa, Cunina. The larvae of this jelly seeks other hydromedusae and develop within the stomach and radial canals of the host. This Foersteria is releasing young Cunina from the radial canals.

All images in the JelliesZone © David Wrobel and may not be copied or used in any form without permission.

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